Inflation is causing prices to skyrocket. Groceries and energy are rapidly becoming unaffordable – for people with low and sometimes modal incomes. Employers in the region are not yet planning to compensate for most of that.
Studio040 therefore posed the question to a number of large employers in the region: what are employers doing for their employees now that ordinary monthly salaries are increasingly insufficient to cover their living expenses?
Vitalis WoonZorg Groep announces that it has launched an inflation campaign involving two initiatives to help employees save money. In addition, Vitalis also offers a helping hand in ‘starting the conversation’. This is to prevent people who have financial problems from feeling that they are on their own.
A wage increase is not in the cards, Vitalis reports. “That will create more competition in a labour market that is already overstretched”. In addition, there are agreements with other regional care providers that they do not compete with each other in terms of wages. Also, due to a new collective bargaining agreement, wages and travel costs have recently increased, Vitalis says.
Hospitals in the region also said they were looking at the collective labour agreement. The Máxima Medisch Centrum (máxima medical centre) therefore says that it can do little for its employees. “We depend on the collective bargaining agreement for that”, is how we were informed.
A similar voice is heard at the Catharina Ziekenhuis (hospital), but it notes that the current collective labour agreement expires at the end of January 2023. “It will therefore not be long before new CAO (cla, collective labour agreements) negotiations begin. So then we will have new agreements”.
ASML also let it be known that collective bargaining is imminent. Employees of the chip machine manufacturer fall under the Metalelektro CAO, for which a hard-fought agreement was recently reached. That agreement ends on 1 December, so the company will have to get back to the table with the unions soon.
In addition, the chip machine company let it be known that its employees earn “well above” the minimum wage and that its remuneration level is “very attractive”, in the market. “Every year, employees receive a 13th month and a profit distribution follows in February”.
“Should employees unexpectedly run into financial difficulties, the company offers the opportunity to seek advice from a financial advisor. In addition, there is the possibility of having vacation pay paid out early.”
VDL states that – outside of the collective labour agreement – it had already anticipated rising fuel prices earlier this year. The company has increased the commuting allowance. In addition, the maximum distance to be reimbursed for commuting has been increased.
Furthermore, the automotive company has an initiative underway to help employees with financial problems. “For example, there is the Geldzorgen (money worries) project. On the one hand, managers are trained to signal money worries among employees at an early stage, and on the other, employees with money worries are helped with help and advice, or they are referred to the right support”, a spokesperson says.
On behalf of Koninklijke Horeca Nederland (royal catering Netherlands), Eindhoven division, Ruud Bakker says that he has noticed that employees are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet. “People wonder where this is going to end”, Bakker says. There is no question of financial compensation for the rising prices. “For that we have just concluded a new and improved collective agreement that runs until the end of 2023”.
Besides, the hospitality industry itself is having a hard enough time, Bakker says. “Energy prices are going through the roof, as are prices for raw materials. We notice that here, too”. On a positive note, Bakker doesn’t notice the price increases in the number of clients. “Not yet”, that’s what he discloses.
Translated by: Bob